Win-Win or Lose-Lose: Poverty, Human Health, and Environmental Quality

Friday, February 12, 2016: 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Wilson C (Marriott Wardman Park)
A growing body of research links the dynamics of human well-being with those of natural phenomena. Research into these relationships has unusual promise for informing the design, implementation, and evaluation of government policies and non-governmental organization priorities that benefit both humans and their environments. For example, poverty traps and environmental degradation often go hand in hand, particularly in rural areas of developing countries, because they reinforce each other and have common, yet complex, underlying causes. Market failures, coordination failures, and transitory shocks such as extreme weather events have potentially persistent consequences. They can lead to natural resource degradation that pushes or keeps resource-dependent communities in persistent poverty, or they can create desperate situations that lead to destruction of natural resources. In this session, scholars from different disciplines and different countries address the dynamic nature of environmentally-mediated poverty traps, including the effects of soil degradation and marine resource depletion on persistent poverty, and connections between ecosystem degradation and human health. The underlying mechanisms must be understood, and new interdisciplinary approaches combining theory, methods, and data from the natural and social sciences can be used to design and evaluate interventions aimed at reducing poverty and increasing conservation in areas where livelihoods depend heavily on natural resources.
Christopher B. Barrett, Cornell University
Joshua E. Cinner, James Cook University
Uncovering Bright Spots Among the World’s Coral Reefs